In this talk, I describe what the image Unpayable Debt, what it does and how that which it does figures in the larger confrontation with post-Enlightenment thought in which I enage in my academic and artistic work. A tool of black thought, Unpayable Debt, it is offered as a contribution to the arsenal of the Black Radical Tradition, as described by Cedric Robinson and as practiced by Hortense Spillers, Saidiya Hartman, Fred Moten, and Nahum Chandler to name a few. A tradition that also includes poetry, music, fabulations as well as the confabulations engaged by those engaged in antislavery and anticolonial marron practices across the Americas and the Caribbean and their resonances in the anticolonial struggles in European and the African continent in the twentieth century and even before.
An academic and practicing artist, Dr. Denise Ferreira da Silva’s work addresses the ethico-political challenges of the global present. She is the author of Toward a Global Idea of Race (University of Minnesota Press, 2007), A Dívida Impagavel (Oficina da Imaginaçāo Política and Living Commons, 2019), Unpayable Debt (Stenberg/MIT Press, forthcoming) and co-editor (with Paula Chakravartty) of Race, Empire, and the Crisis of the Subprime (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013). Her several articles have been published in leading interdisciplinary journals, such as Social Text, Theory, Culture & Society, Social Identities, PhiloSOPHIA, Griffith Law Review, Theory & Event, The Black Scholar, to name a few. Her artistic works includes the films Serpent Rain (2016) and 4Waters-Deep Implicancy (2018), in collaboration with Arjuna Neuman; and the relational art practices Poethical Readings and Sensing Salon, in collaboration with Valentina Desideri. She has exhibited and lectured at major art venues, such as the Pompidou Center (Paris), Whitechapel Gallery (London, MASP (Sāo Paulo), Guggenheim (New York), and MoMa (New York). She has also written for publications for major art events (Liverpool Biennale, 2017; Sao Paulo Biennale, 2016, Venice Biennale, 2017, and Documenta 14) and published in art venues, such as Canadian Art, Texte Zur Kunst, and E-Flux.
She is a member of several boards including Haus de Kulturen de Welt (Berlin), International Consortium for Critical Theory Programs and the journals Postmodern Culture, Social Identities, and Dark Matter.
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